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Feelings Got Hurt
Photo: Keith Syvinski
There’s a talent investor in the Bible who got his ego bruised. The boss gave his best friends five or two talents to invest for the company—and he only got one. So it was time to pout.

Can you think of a time when you essentially decided to check out of the game, and—for a time, at least—not have an active role in God’s family? There are so many factors that cause a person to go to the sidelines. Sometimes we’re angry. Or our feelings are hurt. Or we’re so resentful over having a small role that we decide to just spend some time having no role at all.

In January of 1997, Al Gore – “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” – was sworn in for a second term as Bill Clinton’s VP. Clinton’s first term ended at noon on January 20, but the ceremony was running a few minutes behind schedule. So Gore was sworn in as Vice President around 12:00, with Clinton putting his hand on the Bible at 12:05 p.m. According to a strict reading of the Constitution, Clinton was technically not President for those five minutes. And with Gore already sworn in, and first in line behind him, there was about 300 seconds where Mr. Albert Gore III was kind of, sort of, in a manner of speaking . . . President of the United States. Woo hoo! (Something he’d been running for since third grade.) After a political lifetime of hoping and dreaming and running, this is what he got: five minutes of being President in an invisible technical bubble.

Fortunately, Gore was smart enough to see the humor in the situation. Later, at Washington’s annual Gridiron Dinner and “roast,” he got up in front of dignitaries to talk about his “Five-Minute Presidency.” “Historians will look back fondly on the Gore administration,” he said in his typical wooden voice. “Our country was at peace, at home and abroad. Inflation remained low and the economy boomed—3.1 new jobs. There was less crime on my watch than any other presidency in the twentieth century—Democrat or Republican. We made America’s streets safer with two new community police officers, Bob and Duane.”

Comparison and Self-pity

Unlike this resilient politician, we often adopt the mindset of the third investor, who is sucked into the twin traps of comparisons and self-pity.  The man who had "received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money" (Matthew 25:18).

He undoubtedly had his feelings hurt over the reality that he was only given one talent. The master handed them out based on ability, and obviously must not have thought he had very much. We naturally tend to think that we have more ability than others see in us. The TV hit American Idol proves that. It’s a daily challenge to remember that we are all playing for the same great team, that all wins accrue to the “house,” and that a loving master assigns talents according to his infinite wisdom and out of a heart of love.

We need to keep our focus on the final score, not our individual stats.

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By David Smith. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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